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The Difference Between Marketing Automation Solutions and SalesLoft

4 min read
Updated Oct. 18, 2023
Published Nov. 20, 2015

A few weeks ago, our Director of Sales, Anthony, gave a presentation to our sales team (and anyone else who wanted the clarity) on the difference between marketing automation and Salesloft.

A common objection we come across when selling is, “But I already have a marketing automation tool. How is Salesloft better than the solution we already use?” Well, the answer is: there is no comparison. They are apples and oranges. Simply put, marketing automation solutions are built for marketing, and Salesloft is built for sales development.

By definition, marketing automation refers to software platforms and technologies designed specifically for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple online channels (email, social media, websites, etc.) and to automate repetitive tasks.

Salesloft, on the other hand, is a sales enablement platform and technology designed for sales development departments and organizations to semi-automate communication and follow up with their prospects in a systematic manner. Through personalized email, phone, and social media touches, reps are able to create more meaningful conversations and convert more prospects into sales qualified appointments.

Now, that’s not to say that the two tools aren’t both necessary for specific roles. Depending on the need, certain roles within a company may call for the use of just one — or both — of the solutions:

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To further explain the difference, Anthony broke it down for us with the features of each tool divided by role functionality:

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This breakdown was helpful when determining of all of the moving parts that go into the sales process, and how each of these tools are used throughout. Over the course of an entire sales cycle, from the top of the funnel to the bottom, both marketing automation and Salesloft have their place in the game.

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From the moment a lead is acquired, until the opportunity is closed or recycled, each step requires a specific touchpoint with the right amount of personalization. When it comes to marketing automation, Marketers are able to:

  • Blast 10,000 leads to generate market awareness.
  • Set automation rules in place to process multiple engagement types from those 10,000s leads.
  • Gain visibility on the effectiveness and traction of their website, content, newsletters, blogs, and one-off campaigns.
  • Associate an ROI number with marketing campaigns to give executive leadership visibility into the efficacy of marketing dollars spent.
  • Produce warm, marketing-qualified leads for the sales team to call on.

But here’s where marketing automation fails in the sales portion of the process (and Salesloft executes):

  • Quickly editing individual email templates to add levels of personalization.
  • Sending authentic emails in bulk (without an Unsubscribe link).
  • Sending through reps’ individual Gmail or Outlook servers.
  • Calling leads through an integrated dialer.
  • Quickly moving leads from one cadence to another.
  • Controlling what messages leads receive.
  • Producing meaningful conversations, which ultimately leads to demos.

All of this to say, there is a time and place for both marketing automation solutions and sales enablement tools. At Salesloft, we use Pardot, a Marketing Automation suite, for marketing drip campaigns, sending out newsletters through segmented lists, automatically assigning inbound web-to-lead forms to our Inbound SDRs. Through Pardot, we continue to nurture prospects and leads that have not yet qualified to be within the sales cycle, or have been through the sales cycle, but have not yet become clients. When the sales cycle occurs with a Sales Development Rep or Account Executive, Pardot campaigns are suppressed to reduce the risk of conflicting messages.

But when it comes to sales development, we drink our own Kool-Aid and use the Salesloft platform in all of the sales stages of our cycle. Salesloft serves as the home base to SDRs — a place where these reps can live on a daily basis to stay on top of their prospect cadences. Marketing specialists have their role (in content, branding, social media, etc.) — but many of your Marketing Reps are currently doing what Sales Development Reps should be doing in the sales process.

Practice specialization on your team today, and integrate Salesloft into your sales process to keep people from falling through the cracks.